FBI closes down top file-sharing site

Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2012 05:22 pm

The federal authorities on Thursday announced that they had charged seven people connected to the Web site Megaupload, including its founder, with running an international criminal enterprise centered on copyright infringement on the Internet.

According to a grand jury indictment, Megaupload — one of the most popular “locker” services on the Internet, which lets users anonymously transfer large files — generated $175 million in income for its operators through subscription fees and advertising, while causing $500 million in damages to copyright holders.

Four of the seven people, including the site’s founder Kim Dotcom, born Kim Schmitz, have been arrested in New Zealand, the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Thursday; the three others remain at large. The seven — who a grand jury indictment calls part of a “Mega Conspiracy” — have been charged with five counts of copyright infringement and conspiracy, the authorities said.

The charges, which the government agencies said represented “among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States,” come at a charged time, a day after online protests against a pair of antipiracy bills being considered by Congress — the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, in the House, and the Protect I.P. Act, or PIPA, in the Senate.

In response to the arrests, the hacker collective known as Anonymous said it had taken down the Web sites of the Justice Department, the Motion Picture Association of America, and the Recording Industry Association of America. All three sites were inaccessible late Thursday afternoon.

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Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2012 07:54 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Lustig Andrei wrote:
According to a grand jury indictment, Megaupload — one of the most popular “locker” services on the Internet, which lets users anonymously transfer large files
If this story is accurate, then it worries me.

If the FBI (or any government agency) can arrest the owners of any site just for allowing its users to upload large files, then almost anyone on the Internet who owns a server and has users could be held accountable for something their users put onto their server. And from there it isn't a far stretch to imaging providers being held accountable for anything that flows through their routers.

Under this paradigm Copyright infringement could be used as a legal pry-bar to open virtually anything on the Internet.

If they need to protect Copyrights (and I'm not sure they do in some cases), then I think they should only be able to go after the people who upload Copyrighted material, not the people who's systems they use to do it.

How come they don't arrest Bill Gates for allowing his computer software to be used to do all the copying?
Lustig Andrei
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2012 08:07 pm
The story is from the NY Times website so there's some reason to think it accurate. Excellent point about Bill Gates and all others who provide software that could be misused illegally. Might as well arrest gun manufacturers every time one of their products is used in the commission of a crime.
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